[Essay] can i use "etc." in my composition

Status
Not open for further replies.

caronmi

Junior Member
Joined
May 18, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
Et cetera.

And this is a sentence from my composition: "The crucial way of practising oral English is to speak English whenever it is possible[FONT=&#23435]—[/FONT]in front of the foreign teacher, the classmates, etc."

I wonder whether "etc." is formal enough for a composition.:-?
 

TheParser

VIP Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Et cetera.

And this is a sentence from my composition: "The crucial way of practising oral English is to speak English whenever it is possible[FONT=&#23435]—[/FONT]in front of the foreign teacher, the classmates, etc."

I wonder whether "etc." is formal enough for a composition.:-?

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, Caronmi.

(1) I agree with those experts who say that "etc." should be

used for things, NOT people.

(2) There is a term for people: et al. It is very formal, but it

might impress your teacher. Your teacher might think: Oh, my! What

an intelligent student!

... in front of the teacher, my classmates, parents, et al.

(3) Some native speakers do, indeed, use "etc." for people,

but I would advise against it.

(3) If "et al." is too formal, you could simply write:

...in front of the teacher, my classmates, parents, and others.

***** Thank you *****

P. S. I would not say "foreign teacher." Here in the United States,

sometimes calling someone a "foreigner" is not considered polite.

If you wish to clarify the fact that your teacher is from another country,

you could write something like:

... in front of my American teacher, my classmates, parents, and others.
 

tedtmc

Key Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2006
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Malaysia
Current Location
Malaysia
I wouldn't advise 'etc.' to be used in writing. I think it is a lazy way to say something when you run out of words to express it. It doesn't sound that bad in spoken English though. This reminds me of the movie 'The King and I'. The king of Siam (Thailand) in those days, did not speak English very well. When he couldn't find the words to express himself in English, he would continue his conversation by saying 'etc...etc.' , a convenient way to cover his inadequacy.

'Et el' is a common term used in research and academic papers to refer to people to have done earlier research on a subject. I think it is too formal to use in ordinary writing.

not a teacher
 
Last edited:

bertietheblue

Senior Member
Joined
May 21, 2010
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
I suggest 'in front of your teacher, classmates and others'.

The biggest problem I have with 'etc' is not that it is used in reference to people but that it implies a closed set of similar things/people of which teachers and classmates are members, and is used since the other members of the set are known or obvious. But it is not clear what other members of the set 'etc' is referring to here - friends? Family? And even if that is the case, are they actually part of the same set?

In legal documents, I usually read 'amongst others' ('etc.' is also used, as is 'inter alios', although relatively rarely). 'et al.' is generally only used in reference to books or articles with more than one author and I wouldn't recommend using it otherwise.
 

Raymott

VIP Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Australia
Current Location
Australia
Et cetera.

And this is a sentence from my composition: "The crucial way of practising oral English is to speak English whenever it is possible[FONT=&#23435]—[/FONT]in front of the foreign teacher, the classmates, etc."

I wonder whether "etc." is formal enough for a composition.:-?
I have no problem with it. You obviously mean "other people who might understand a bit of English"
But since there are apparently those who'd mark you down, perhaps you should use "and others" - although, if 'etc.' is ambiguous, "other what?" or "what others?" are fair questions.
I've never heard this rule about 'etc.' not being used for people.
I would have a problem with "et al", which I've never seen used in this context.


"Et cetera (in English contexts pronounced /ɛt ˈsɛtərə/) is a Latin expression that means "and other things", or "and so forth". It is taken directly from the Latin expression which literally means "and the rest (of such things)" and is a loan-translation of the Greek "και έτερα" (kai hetera; "and the others"). Et means "and"; cētera means "the rest"

Et cetera - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

SoothingDave

VIP Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I wouldn't advise 'etc.' to be used in writing. I think it is a lazy way to say something when you run out of words to express it

Not a teacher.

I disagree. There is nothing wrong with using this in writing. Not all points need to be belabored.

I also concur on the suggestion that et al. is better for talking about people.
 

caronmi

Junior Member
Joined
May 18, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
thank you all for these helpful and detailed answers! :-o
so many idiomatic usages~ and I learned Latin words, too;-)

This composition is written for Chinese non-english majors (usually freshmen or sophomore) as reference to pass college english test, not my academic dissertation, so i think maybe i should choose simple expressions such as "and others"
surely, I'll use "et al" to impress my professors in the days to come:cool:


 

caronmi

Junior Member
Joined
May 18, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
***** NOT A TEACHER *****


P. S. I would not say "foreign teacher." Here in the United States,

sometimes calling someone a "foreigner" is not considered polite.

If you wish to clarify the fact that your teacher is from another country,

you could write something like:

... in front of my American teacher, my classmates, parents, and others.

yes, actually i agree with you. mostly, Chinese students like to call teachers from the US or the UK or some other foreign countries "foreign teachers", or sometimes "international teachers". i personally feel some kind of improper, but I don't know what on earth is the right expression.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top